Mike Henry, the voice actor behind Cleveland, the black cartoon character on Family Guy and The Cleveland Show, announced on Friday that he will no longer be voicing the character's lines. "I love this character, but persons of color should play characters of color," Henry wrote on Twitter.
It’s been an honor to play Cleveland on Family Guy for 20 years. I love this character, but persons of color should play characters of color. Therefore, I will be stepping down from the role. pic.twitter.com/FmKasWITKT— Mike Henry (@mikehenrybro) June 26, 2020
Hopefully, Henry was joking because, if voice actors must resemble the characters they are playing, Family Guy is going to have to find a talking dog and a talking baby, as Twitter users were quick to point out.
And only a real paedophile should voice Herbert. pic.twitter.com/aRFAbhVXUf— Harry Partridge ?? (@HappyHarryToons) June 26, 2020
Joseph Wilson, a black voice actor, called Henry's decision to quit "unnecessary."
Look I'm black and a voice actor and I don't think this is necessary. I appreciate the sentiment behind it but I don't think you should do this. This is your most iconic role! That's the beauty of voice acting, the actor's appearance (including skin color) DOES NOT MATTER.— Joseph Wilson (@VoicemanWilson) June 26, 2020
While some pointed out the absurdity of requiring voice actors to match the physical aspects of the characters they play, others took Henry's sentiment to the extreme.
How many millions of dollars did you make by committing verbal blackface, Mike? Shouldn't you give all that money plus interest to the black community that you systematically robbed all these years?— Mark Dice (@MarkDice) June 26, 2020
When will this craziness end?